Misery loves comedy

It seems that nearly all comedy is based in misfortune. I’m not saying this as a judgement, just an observation. The funniest stories to tell, by and large, are not about the times that things went right, but about the times they went horribly wrong. The time you got to your job interview on time, nailed it, and were offered the position on the spot is a happy story, but not generally funny. The time you accepted a dare to eat spicy chili and wash it down with Hoegaarden just prior to the interview, then had to bolt halfway through because you were about to imitate a bottle rocket right then and there — well, depending on your delivery, and the tastes of your audience, that has the potential to be funny.

I’m not saying that all misfortune is funny. Clearly, it’s not. And I’m not saying that all comedy is rooted in tragedy. But, to my estimation, it seems that the overwhelming majority of what we find funny in our lives is what went wrong.

After all, how many of us have said, or heard, “You’ll look back on this and laugh”? Bad experience now equals funny experience later.

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